Trust is a greatly over-used word in management conversations, and has therefore lost much of its meaning, becoming a cliché for “lets hope”.
People trust brands when they deliver consistently over time, but trust is like a bucket with a hole in the bottom, you need to keep pouring water in to keep up with the inevitable losses for a whole range of reasons. Stop adding to the bucket for a moment, and you lose ground that is very hard to make up.
In discussing collaborative structures of various types, “Trust” is grossly overused, and should be replaced by an alternative description, “Reputational Capital” which implies more of the appreciation/depreciation continuum better understood by managers.
Collaborations work only in the presence of people who individually work to ensure that by their efforts others will benefit, and the whole system remains healthy. This is consistent irrespective of the size and nature of the collaboration, from major corporate initiatives, to self managed teams on the factory floor, the local tennis club, and web based sharing platforms like Zipcar. The Reputation of all participants is paramount to collaborative success.
Amazon, Zappos and Ebay rewrote the book on reputational capital with their review systems, and the principals used are now in wide use across many web platforms to provide buyers and sellers with certainty.
How long will it be before there is a web-wide statement of our activity, that accounts for all our activity, irrespective of the platform, an accounting of our Reputational Capital, a “klout” type score that measures not activity, but the satisfaction delivered to the people on the receiving end of all the transactions an individual originates.